Proverbs 18:23

The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

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Every man is born into the world very similar to a wild ass’s colt (Job 11:12), but after a few accomplishments he thinks he can talk harshly to others. The poor learn to talk softly and humbly request, while the rich arrogantly speak against them with hardness. The proverb is true of natural men, but it should not describe the conduct of spiritual men.

Financial advantage or disadvantage quickly affects men’s lives. The rich are conceited, have many friends, and rule over the poor (Pr 14:20; 22:7; 28:11). They grow up thinking the world dances to their tune. They think themselves independent of God and man, so they speak condescendingly to those with less. Joseph spoke harshly to his brethren to hide his gentle soul (Gen 42:7); Nabal did the same to reveal a vile heart (I Sam 25:5-11).

Discrimination by income is not Christian conduct. Jesus taught a religion that shows no such respect of persons (Jas 2:1-4). It was the rich that generally persecuted the believers (Jas 2:6-7), and it is usually the poor God has chosen to give faith for His kingdom (Jas 2:5). God chose the poor of this world to confound the mighty (I Cor 1:26-31). There is no difference in Jesus Christ between a bond slave and a free man (Col 3:28).

Riches create pride, and this common consequence is hard to resist (Pr 18:11; 30:8-9). Men who seek riches do so to their own destruction (I Tim 6:6-10). No wonder Jesus said it was harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle (Matt 19:24). And that is a small hole indeed! You cannot fit.

The LORD made both the poor and the rich (Pr 22:2). The rich are not self-made men, as they like to think. Riches are not by speed, strength, wisdom, understanding, or skill; they are by God’s control of “time and chance” (Eccl 9:11). Rich man, why do you glory in your wealth, as if you had earned it by ability, when God gave it to you (I Cor 4:7)?

Rather than harshness, graciousness should cover all you say and do (Eccl 10:12; Col 4:6). For great grace has been given to you, regardless of how poor you are in this world. Jesus Christ, possessor of heaven and earth, came to earth and gently dealt with the poor of all sorts (Luke 4:18-21; 21:1-4). Let the poor rejoice; let the rich mourn their fate (Jas 1:9-11). No man can by any means give to God a ransom for his soul (Ps 49:6-13).

Jesus blessed the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3), and His Father in heaven promised to honor them (Is 66:2). All men are poor at God’s throne, and all men are penniless when they die; every man, even at his best state, is totally worthless (Ps 39:5). A spiritually-poor publican went down to his house justified (Luke 18:9-14), while a rich man woke up in hell (Luke 16:22-23). Confess to God your real poverty, and beg Him for true riches.